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KNXV Investigation Wins George Polk Award

Topic: Investigative Reporting
Posted on 2/21/2022

KNXV, a Phoenix television station owned by The E.W. Scripps Company, won a George Polk Award for its original investigative piece, “Politically Charged,” that exposed tactics by the Phoenix justice system to target and frame protestors exercising their First Amendment rights following George Floyd’s murder in May 2020.

The George Polk Awards, which place a premium on investigative and enterprising reporting that gains attention and achieves results, annually honor special achievement in journalism and focus on the “intrepid, bold, and influential work of the reporters themselves.”

For “Politically Charged,” a series of 60 reports and an hourlong investigative special, KNXV reporter Dave Biscobing and the ABC15 Investigators spent a year probing the mass-arrest of more than 100 demonstrators and the attempts by the Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Attorney’s office to distort facts to grand juries to obtain felony charges against them.

The team’s reporting led to the dismissal of every felony protest arrest in the county – 39 in total. Locally, officers and prosecutors have been reassigned – some are under criminal investigation – high-level county attorney’s office officials resigned, the police chief was suspended, and multiple class-action lawsuits have been filed. “Politically Charged” has also triggered a U.S. Department of Justice pattern-or-practice investigation to examine the history of policing policies in Phoenix. Further, when the city of Phoenix tried to subpoena KNXV’s raw materials for its police misconduct stories, the newsroom fought back and won in federal court.

“Politically Charged” also was recently honored with a 2022 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award along with KNXV’s “Full Disclosure” series, which exposed widespread and systemic problems with Arizona’s so-called “Brady” lists of police officers with documented behavioral problems.

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